Ray Curtis, retired businessman and, co-founder of the ITEX walk (along with his late wife), drew on planning skills and his innate positivity, when he learnt that he had macular degeneration.
Recognising that he would face challenges he reached out to EYECAN to learn more about the support available and began adapting his environment to work for him in the event of further sight loss.
“I made a plan,” he says, “I believe in preparing as best you can, and in trying to keep as up to date as possible.”
Ray’s home now features adaptions ranging from tiny tactile dots affixed to his microwave which help him recognise positions when turning the dial, to a Compact 10HD magnifier reader, which magnifies or reads documents, as required.
Two Alexa smart speakers provide spoken responses to any information Ray requests. The one situated in his bedroom also gives wake up calls, whilst both are linked to Ray’s phones so that he can take, and make, calls throughout his home, and contact the emergency services should need arise. Ray also uses the RNIB talking book service which he describes as, “invaluable.”
As Ray once served in the armed forces, he has registered with UK charity, Blind Veterans, and looks forward to visiting them for an assessment and to learn more about their service. The Charity, which covers travel costs to any of their centres, is open to anyone with sight loss who has served in the forces.
Ray has also embraced the opportunity to act as guinea pig for innovative eye surgery, allowing a 10x magnifying lens to be inserted into his eye. He has spoken about this at Westlea to the Macular Society.
“It’s all about having a positive attitude,” he explains. “Make the best of what you’ve got. Address challenges in the best way you can. Plan ahead and pull everything together.”